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Florida Dems: Please count us!

A bevy of Florida Democrats will go before the national party today to plead their case for political relevancy. The meeting is also being billed as Hillary Clinton's last major stand -- though she's not expected to get all she wants.

Sen. Bill Nelson, who unsuccessfully sued the Democratic National Committee, accusing it of stripping away the voting rights of Florida Democrats, will appeal for mercy on behalf of the state party. Clinton will be represented by state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, and Barack Obama by his Florida campaign chair, Rep. Robert Wexler of Boca Raton.

At issue is an appeal authored by DNC member Jon Ausman, a Tallahassee Democrat who has asked former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez and Janee Murphy of Tampa to join him.

Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, a Clinton supporter, wants to speak but isn't on the schedule. She said she has been invited to several rallies Clinton supporters are planning in hopes of pressing committee members to seat the entire delegation.

Click brown.doc to see Brown's case and see below for what Martinez hopes to tell the committee.

Each speaker has just 15 minutes, though the committee can question them for 10 minutes after their presentation.

Raul Martinez:

By now we have all heard about the importance of not disenfranchising Florida's voters who are the victims in all of this. Victims because they had no say in when and why the primary dates were set.

I however would like to present a unique perspective. If we reduce the importance of Florida and it's delegation we are giving up a tremendous opportunity for Democrats among Hispanic voters in Florida. 
For the first time since such records have been kept, there a re more Hispanic Democrats than Republicans. There has been a seismic shift in voter registrations among all Hispanics in Florida and in particular with Cuban Americans. In Miami Dade County alone there has been a net increase of 25,000 among Hispanic Democrats. 

In Hialeah, the city where I served as Mayor for twenty four years Hispanic Democrats have increased nearly more than 10%. This important group of voters can not be alienated.

If we tell them that Democrats are not counting their votes and not seating delegates we will be sending exactly the wrong message. I fear that this message may dampen newly registered Hispanics enthusiasm in the Fall.

This has other implications as well. For the first time ever we have three viable Hispanic Democrats running for congress. We need an enthusiastic and inspired Hispanic electorate. The same is true in Central Florida and throughout the I-4 Corridor where we have excellent candidates running for the state house and congress who need these new Hispanic voters as well.

That is why I come before you today.  Not on behalf of a Campaign or candidate but on behalf of Hispanic voters, Florida and the Democratic Party asking.... urging you to seat the Florida delegation and show that you care and honor the votes of Floridians.